Well good morning.
A little late this week with my chat, but been rather busy.
So essentially I have finished with my road running for the year – yeehah! But am now in my last week of a speed training course with lots of interval training with the aim of improving my speed.
To date the training stats are talking back in a really good way. I have been mixing up my training sessions with and without shoes, and as I never know if we are on grass or pavement, makes for interesting sessions. My times seem to have improved considerably. When I started the course 5 weeks ago I was an average 5:10 km/min over a 5km distance. Today I did an average 3:59km/min over 5km..equates to 20 minutes for a 5km run..barefoot on wet grass…
Yes, for most of you out there I know that is nothing to write home about, but for me I was pretty impressed.
So on Thursday last week we ran on pavement, and I must say, my form seems to like pavement running. Then on Saturday we did a pre stress negative split 10km, mostly on pavement and road. Again running this barefoot was fairly enjoyable. At least the combined group are not distracted by my lack of running shoes now, and pretty much just accept me for me. However one of the chaps was very very interested in my technique and speed for the group. Intrigued with the barefoot ability and my total lack of concern of the state of my feet on the surfaces or at the end of the run. This particular gent seems to be paying positive attention and is keen to know how I do my trail running. What I enjoy about this type of conversation is the generated interest in technique and technical skill of the run in barefeet as opposed to the generic “how do you do it/you are crazy/why do you do it” and so on.
Interestingly enough another lady in the group has asked me for some tips as she is seriously considering trying some barefoot running. So I am most intrigued at this interest. I think now every one is over the shock/horror and just accept me for who I am, and given that in the group I am running with I am a front runner, it intrigues them if my style has an impact on my pace. it intrigues me!
Please remember I am not trying to convert people to barefoot running, and I am not preaching this over running shoes. My group have seen me training both with and without running shoes, so they can see I am not a fanatic or die hard, I just run with what I am comfortable in at the time.
However several people have noticed that the days I go barefoot I seem to “run very light footed and much faster”. I agree I run relatively light footed. So far it appears I also run faster barefoot – but that is if I am running on pavement. When I run barefoot on grass it is definitely slower than with running shoes. I believe because normally this is early in the morning when the grass is cold, frosty and wet, and I just do not get the traction as when I have running shoes on, which are my New Balance Minimus zero drop trail shoes – perfect for wet grass running!
I have also started seriously training for my 6 inch ultra marathon through the hills in December. Realistically there is no chance of running this event as a running race, so my focus is to gain more strength, endurance and stamina to keep me out there for upwards of 6 hours that I expect this event to take place. I must admit, the reality and enormity of this event is slowly starting to hit me!
On Sunday I set off for one of my long runs, I was about 500m away from the driveway when I decided to return and put my shoes on, as I was going on a free run down a new route with no fixed distance in mind. Just as well, this particular route had a lot of broken glass. It seems that the night before (Saturday) must have been a string of vandalism acts, as all the bus shelters had their glass partitions hammered out. So sad. Ironically I found the perfect half marathon distance loop route for training…
Why am I then combining speed with ultra? Well speed training will help me with my kick off and twitch muscles, but is a good mix for training. It will I hope also increase my strength and V02 max, thereby increasing my heart and lung capacity. By reaching a pinnacle (next week) and then spending the next 6 weeks on maintenance and distance endurance, I should make the ultra. Also I am the kind of person that needs goals to get me out of bed and exercising, so short term goals such as park runs, well are attainable and a good way to keep going.